Pepper the robot is coming.
The humanoid robot is only new to the U.S., having already been placed into more than 125 Softbank Mobile stores in Japan, where customers are greeted and welcomed by the robot, which also has been accepted into Japanese homes.
Pepper is a humanoid robot that can recognize key human emotions and adapt its behavior to the mood of the person it’s dealing with.
The 4-foot tall robot has facial recognition built in, and based on what it hears and sees, can move around on its own.
Pepper is not the first and won’t be the last of the wave or personal robots on the way.
Some will come with their own distinctive personality with the intention of fitting into a family, as I wrote about here recently (New Doorways to Advertising: Meet Jibo, The Social Robot).
But U.S. consumers are going to start hearing more about Pepper, since the robot’s maker Softbank just teamed with the agency Midnight Oil.
And just last week, the robot’s platform was opened to Android developers, with the intent of creating new capabilities. Android will run on a tablet linked to the chest of the robot, of which 10,000 have been sold.
Pepper is relatively common in Japan, where the robot has served as salesperson, waiter and customer service rep in several hundred companies.
Midnight Oil is working on the brand strategy and positioning of Pepper along with the development of a creative campaign.
As part of the U.S. intro, Midnight Oil launched a series of videos showing what the robot can do.
Billed as the world’s first personal companion robot, which can read and respond to human emotions, Pepper launched in prototype in 2014.
And with screens, voices and facial recognition, robots like Pepper could open totally new conduits for marketing and advertising into the home.
These may come in the form of suggestions, recommendations or totally new types of advertising.
Robots will be yet one more IoT component in the connected home.